Monday, November 23, 2009

Off to Ecuador

When autumn falls on the West Kootenay my thoughts usually drift from a seemingly endless summer to anticipation of the bottomless snow that will soon blanket the amazing Selkirk Mountains. And I dream of fresh days of deep powder skiing and think of friends with whom I share the winter.

But this year it's south to Ecuador and the Andes Mountains, the warm South Pacific coast and remote rivers of the Amazon Jungle. Lost in the excitement and promise of a new adventure, it's almost odd that I feel a soothing voice deep within me. It quietly assures me that these special mountains and the shores of Kootenay Lake is where I belong, and offers me the comfort of knowing that I will always return to my beautiful homeland.

Copyright Doug Pyper

Copyright Doug Pyper

My next post will be from Quito, Ecuador in about ten days. I'll be posting regularly from South America with all kinds of stories and photos.

So keep checkin' in.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

BC for Sale

In my opinion this is one of the most important and well done films of the decade about British Columbia.

Twyla Roscovich produced this a few months before the last provincial election to enlighten and forewarn British Columbians of the inherent outcome of another four years Gordon Campbell. She called it the election film. Upon viewing it you will undoubtedly be struck with apprehension. This video outlined what Campbell would do if re-elected. He presently has that mandate.

It unfortunately now outlines what he is currently implementing (mostly in backroom deals) as he begins his four year tenure of sell-out and destruction. It makes this "election film" more relevant than ever, calling us all to action to stop this corrupt, corporately controlled government from totally selling out and devastating our beautiful province in the next few years.

I hope the film inspires all us to fight for the preservation of our province until the next election. Thanks so much for this Twyla, we will all take heed!


And visit Twyla's great website CALLING FROM THE COAST


BC for Sale from Twyla Roscovich on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Death by Plastic

What are we doing to ourselves, our planet and the blameless creatures who share it with us?

It seems we are hopelessly addicted to plastic. Virtually every manufactured product is made of it. We don't give it a second thought, all in the name of convenience. A throw away society!

Since the 1950s, over one billion tons of plastic has been created AND EVERY PIECE OF PLASTIC EVER MADE IS STILL HERE WITH US. With growing world population and more developing countries production is on a staggering increase.

Our landfills are full of it, and so is the Pacific Ocean. The "North Pacific Gyre" also known as "The Great Pacific Garbage Patch" is a plastic soup twice the size of Texas.

This three minute video tells of this catastrophic situation. After viewing it will offer you a selection of 15 more related videos to watch if you so desire.


On Midway Island on the north end of the Hawaiian Island chain thousands of Laysan Albatross young die every year. The adults fly out over the North Pacific Gyre to fill their gullets with food, but instead return with a cargo of plastic to feed their chicks. A picture's worth a thousand words. CHECK OUT THESE DISTURBING IMAGES.

You can learn all about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch HERE.

Question is, what can we do about it?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Vanishing Rainbows

This is a short multimedia video (9 minutes) on the proposed independent power project (IPP) currently threatening Glacier and Howser Creeks in the West Kootenay region of BC. I shot and produced this about a year ago, and it screened at the Fliks Canadian Film Festival in Nelson last February.

It addresses the potential loss of these pristine watersheds to Axor Corporation of Montreal and the injustice facing the two sole residents of the valley. The Grabowskys stand to lose their water, their simple mountain lifestyle and their small horse ranch at the hands of the Campbell government and the corporations that he feeds. Sadly it's a familiar scenario worldwide!

P.S. Have heard some people are experiencing "jerky playback" of this video. I would appreciate anyone experiencing this contacting me by email. It may be just an individual computer issue or a major streaming issue from Vimeo (in which case I'd like to resolve it). Thanks. Doug


Vanishing Rainbows from Doug Pyper on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Thought to Consider

With summer waning our spirit and energy often tend to lose momentum as the warm sun disappears. Here's a beautiful thought to embrace.

Look to this day,
For it is life.
The very life of life.
In its brief course lie all
The realities and verities of existence.
The bliss of growth,
The splendor of action,
The glory of power---

For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today, well lived
Makes every yesterday a dream
of happiness
And every tomorrow is a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day

Sanskrit Proverb

Pics of the Week

Autumn in the Kootenays

Memories of Summer Near Slocan Lake

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's Not Easy Bein' Green..... Or Is It?

Well perhaps not for Kermit the Frog, but seems its a piece of cake for Gordon Campbell.

Do wonders never cease? Gordo just returned from the 2009 Governors’ Climate Summit in California held September 30 to October 02. This corporate puppet a.k.a. our duly elected dictator, continues to portray himself as organic green. It’s nothing short of astounding!

Here’s a clip from a recent press release by the Office of the Premier:

LOS ANGELES – Premier Gordon Campbell signed the 2009 Governors’ Climate Summit Declaration on behalf of British Columbia, committing the Province to work co-operatively with all levels of government around the world to combat climate change.

“Climate change is a challenge on an unprecedented scale and calls for an unprecedented level of co-operation between governments at all levels – national, state, provincial and municipal,” said Premier Campbell. “This declaration reaffirms our commitment to work collaboratively with other jurisdictions around the world, even as we take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within our own province. I want to thank California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and all host governors for giving a voice to sub-national governments on this important issue.”


This government is actively supporting and promoting the Northern Gateway Enbridge Pipeline across northern BC that will carry dirty Alberta Tar Sands oil to a proposed oil tanker port at Kitimat (snuffing a 30-year moratorium on coastal tanker traffic) that protected us from oil spills similar to the Exxon Valdez. This will allow a 50% increase in production from the Tar Sands, the biggest contributor to GHG emissions in Canada, and considered the most destructive project on the planet.

BC is currently one of the largest exporters of coal, providing carbon emitting fuel for power plants and steel production in Japan and South Korea. (now possibly including the new proposed Vancouver Island mine). Is this “working with governments around the world to combat climate change”? A little hard to swallow!

The lower mainland Gateway Project will produce more urban sprawl and build freeways gobbling up food producing Fraser Valley farmland while massively increasing single vehicle freeway traffic and consequently GHG emissions, instead of opting for increased rapid transit initiatives.

Gordon Campbell and the Fiberals blatantly promote off shore oil exploration and development and have provided 1.5 billion dollars in subsidies to oil and gas companies. That’s your tax dollars by the way! Green Initiatives???

And this government is in full support of coal-bed Methane gas exploration by British Petroleum (BP) in the pristine Flathead Valley of southeastern BC, an area that many foresaw as a future National Park.

It’s goes on and on.....there's no end in sight!!!


The Terminator and the Corporator

Photo Courtesy of Gordo's Public Affairs Bureau

I can honestly say I never really envisioned my blog as engaging in political commentary. My sole concerns at the root have always been “close to the heart” environmental issues. However, it seems inevitable that when addressing environmental issues you're drawn into the realm of political discourse, unavoidably when you share a province with the likes of Gordon Campbell and Co.

Quite frankly, politics makes me very weary, being foreign to my generally peaceful state of mind. I'd say I have a sort of “respectful disdain” for most politicians. An oxymoron perhaps, but I do reluctantly accept politics as a necessary evil in running the affairs of the human race. I even believe a rare few are actually there to serve.

But seriously, one cannot responsibly ignore Gordon Campbell. It’s not so much a crime that he’s selling himself and his political and corporate cohorts as green. That’s mere hypocrisy. The real crime is that the people of British Columbia buy into this gigantic lie. It’s tragic.....we’re being robbed of our geographic and natural heritage and ultimately our future. We follow like lambs to the slaughter as he gives away our province to corporate interests and the global new world order.

HOW DOES HE DO ALL THIS? Well, seemingly a bullet proof image (until recently) provided by his Public Affairs Bureau along with the "conscience soothing" carbon tax was all he needed. Meanwhile the corporately “dominated” mainstream media hailed him as a veritable “little green leprechaun”. Add to the scenario an NDP Party that offered no real alternative vision (and still doesn’t) and you've got a bogus carbon tax and a government seen in the eyes of the public as a panacea for climate change.

Sorry folks, but the buck stops with us. Let’s be realistic...with greatly fluctuating fuel prices the carbon tax isn't even noticed at the pumps, and statistics reflect that fact.

FUEL CONSUMPTION HAS ACTUALLY INCREASED SINCE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CARBON TAX. Further, those in rural British Columbia who often use their vehicles because they have to, not because they want to, are screwed by this ‘green wash’ political tactic. The big polluters...including the oil and gas companies.....yes they pay, but it’s returned to them in generous subsidies (as noted 1.5 billion dollars in subsidies) to keep them at work devastating our planet for personal gain, squeezing the last fossil fuels out of mother earth here in BC and Alberta.

There are alternatives to the Campbell's ineffective CT and numerous avenues to pursue for reducing GHG emmissions here in BC and worldwide. Increasing rapid transit, promoting car and ride sharing, curtailing the auto industry from further production and promotion of unnecessarily large gas guzzling consumer vehicles and above all putting the 'cuffs' on large industrial polluters. Numero Uno...immediate scaling down of the "Canadian" Tar Sands.

I could go on forever. Enough said! Let’s get rid of this white collar criminal before the next election (there are democratic options). It’s really up to us folks.....together we can toss out this arrogant crook through recall or a general strike! The Americans got rid of Nixon.....we can do the same with Gordo!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rivers at Risk

The Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC) has recently published a new paper (tabloid size brochure). This is a "must read" and as noted in their memo below can be ordered from them at no charge.

If you're concerned about the corporate takeover of our rivers you may wish to order some and distribute copies throughout your community.

You can view and read the publication by clicking on the graphic illustration below and then clicking on the PDF file in the upper left corner.


Hello friend of BC Rivers

Our latest paper just arrived. It’s called BC Rivers at Risk, and is a successor to our Power Grab paper from last year. It looks at the threats to BC’s rivers caused by privatized hydropower projects. All around British Columbia people are concerned about the rampant privatization of our rivers. This newspaper gives people a way to channel their concerns into action.

It sheds light on how the BC government, through the 2002 BC Energy Plan forbade our profitable Crown corporation, BC Hydro, from competing with the private sector by barring Hydro from producing new sources of electricity. At the same time, it directed BC Hydro to meet future projected electricity needs by purchasing from private power developers. Since that time, there has been a phenomenal 1140 percent increase in these so-called “independent power project” (also known as IPPs) applications throughout BC.

The paper shines a spotlight on two large and extremely unpopular proposed projects:
Bute Inlet (150 km north of Powell River) and Glacier/Howser (in the West Kootenays). It also points out breaking news that the BC government is finally admitting what we’ve accused them of all along: that this private power would not be generated to serve British Columbians, but rather is intended for export. The newsletter also shows how we can do green power right: in a way that respects local communities, promotes conservation, fights against climate change, has real environmental oversight and benefits the public - not just corporations.

Here’s where YOU come in. Due to popular demand for our last IPP paper, we’ve printed 75,000 copies of this latest education report, and we want to get them to as many folks as we can to your local coffee shop, Doctor’s office, or friends, family and co-workers. If you can help, please e-mail us at or phone us at 604-683-8220 (1-800-661-9453 outside the Lower Mainland), and we’ll send you reports right away!

Sven Biggs
Outreach Assistant
Wilderness Committee

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Photographer and Writer

I am available for editorial and commercial assignments upon request.

Please contact me at:

Will travel as required.

Doug Pyper

Pics of the Week

Shamus Burrell, West Kootenay Goat Herder

Prospector and Little Girl, Fort Steele Heritage Town

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beyond the Spin

The Gordon Campbell PR machine has become extremely well versed in political spin since the onslaught of their autocracy in 2001. They spew well-tailored rhetoric, but it rarely speaks any truth much less gives any indication of their real intentions in any given matter.

The "Throne Speech" is a superb example of well-chosen word dressing which has nothing to do with reality or honesty.

I re-wrote a short segment of the speech which addresses the BC Energy Plan, specifically private river power projects (IPP's) and the recent BCUC ruling that states neither are in the "public interest"

It's a much more enlightening speel with a few well-placed words expressing what they really have in mind.

Hope you enjoy my short expose' published as lead article in Vancouver's Columbia Journal.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Adrenalin Anyone?

It was a typical West Kootenay autumn afternoon......warm sunshine and bluebird skies, with a mix of that indefinable surreal tranquility known as Indian Summer. Veteran whitewater kayakers Carl Jacks and Chris Ryman phoned to say hello and tell me they were in my neigbourhood to run a “small waterfall” on the Kaslo River. They asked if I’d like to join them and photograph their little shindig. Hey, it’s what I do guys.....I’ll be there!

The Kaslo River is a pure gem. It flows out of the high alpine of Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park and journeys downward through the lush green forests and deep quiet valleys of the pristine Selkirk Mountains before spilling its crystal clear water into Kootenay Lake at Kaslo. (which is where I live for the time being).

An old ski buddy of mine attempting to be profound with brew in hand once commented, “Extreme sports are all about challenging and pitting yourself against intense terrain, under intense conditions, at an intense level of experience.....whether it be skiing, mountain biking, climbing, whitewater kayaking or whatever. But whitewater paddling (and surfing) are a real bitch, because the terrain actually moves under you. And that movement can change on any given day which makes things extra scary. There’s just no time for second thoughts, because everything is fluid and raging.”

Point taken....which is why I’ve stuck to mountain biking and skiing. And being an Aries fire sign I’m not a water baby anyway.

By the time I arrived and scrambled down the steep bank with my camera gear, Carl and Chris along with friends Bradd Tuck and la femme Laurence Bachand we’re scoping out a planned route through the falls from the bluffs above.

I’m a photographer and photojournalist. I would describe myself as a storyteller. Every good image tells a story! Even an engaging portrait speaks of the subject.

The slide show that follows is a story of a few hours shared by friends. It tells of the fear and excitement (often the same thing), exhilaration, camaraderie, elation, personal accomplishment and fulfillment. It was a sharing of special time enjoyed by all...photographer included. A captivating little river dance!



Chris Ryman owns Endless Adventure in Crescent Valley, BC on the banks of the Slocan River.

Carl Jacks is president of Borderline Boaters here in the West Kootenay.

A bit of a digression. A few years ago Carl and Chris along with some other elite Kootenay paddlers formed a group called the Endangered Creek Expeditions. Their agenda was to paddle the high flow creeks across BC threatened by proposed private hydro development (IPP’s), an initiative of Gordon Campbell's ill-conceived BC Energy Plan.

Their goal was to show the people of BC the beauty of these incredible natural places by filming their experiences.

It was also an attempt to draw attention to certain clauses within the federal Navigable Waters Act, which placed restrictions on construction of industrial structures on watersheds considered "navigable". Paddling these raging creeks, considered by both government and power producers as "unnavigable", brought this issue into question or so they thought.

This past year Prime Minister Harper introduced legislation that significantly changed this act (which dates back to confederation), basically opening up all our Canadian watersheds to industrial development.

Smells of a very timely collusion between Ottawa and Victoria during the current push for private river power development in BC. But that’s another story!

This Camera Takes Good Pictures

I really can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this phrase. And it seems with the onslaught of the digital age it’s become epidemic. For the record cameras don’t take pictures, people do. And if you want to be a good photographer it might be well to understand this.

It's about the light ...period!

Cameras are merely a (and yes, the immortal sensor) are merely a canvas. Furthermore, Photoshop and other editing software are not the panacea. They comprise a digital darkroom; considerably more user friendly than the traditional film darkroom, but that is their sole purpose. They don’t make you a better photographer. (computer geeks take heed).

Photography is an art form at its best...although it is mostly a personal documentary medium for the average person, and that’s all fine and good. Perhaps it's best not confuse the two, because that’s less important to all camera toters than understanding that photography is about light.....period!

That is your medium. And whether you’re an aspiring artist or you just want great family or travel photos, it all begins with an understanding and visual recognition of this simple fact.

As a career photographer and photojournalist I offer this advice from my website.


"Although subject matter and composition are important elements in creating a photograph, if you aspire to be a great photographer you must be a student of light"

Without exception it is the quality of natural or controlled light that creates the drama, emotion and visual appeal of an image. Subject matter and composition are secondary.

Photography truly is the "art of seeing" or better stated the art of recognizing the sometimes dramatic, but more often subtle and infinite diversities and changeability in the quality of light. A camera is merely a tool, for a true photographer "light is the medium".

These workshops offered in both studio and natural settings will enlighten and excite you, and will change the way you look through your viewfinder forever. You'll begin to create the images you really desired and envisioned.

Read more on this topic here:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pics of the Week

Legendary Richie Havens at Kaslo Jazz Fest

Northern Purcell Mountains at Dawn

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Glacier Howser Rally and Public Meeting

Kaslo. BC
June 23, 2009


(more photos to follow story)

If there was ever any doubt that so-called 'run-of-river' private power projects are a government/corporate coalition.......those doubts were completely dispelled for anyone attending the so-called Public Consultation meetings in Kaslo and Meadow Creek recently. It was Simon Gordeau, Axor Corporation spokesperson (proponent) and Gary Alexander, BC Environmental Assessment Officer at the head tables, joined at the hip in a blatant alliance against the public.

The EAO was clearly in defense of the Glacier-Howser project and answering questions merely as a matter of government process, repeatedly defending the proponent and their application. Alexander frequently passed questions he simply could not answer over to the proponents who would then implement their well-rehearsed rhetoric of lies. It was alarming and disgusting....if not frightening.

The EAO had refused a meeting in Nelson assuming that limiting the meetings to the remote smaller communities would lower the profile. Suprise! The largest assembly at any private power meeting to date in the province.......over 1100 socially, economically, and environmentally savvy folks from throughout the region rallied in Kaslo to voice their opposition to the theft of our rivers. They lined up at the microphone for three hours with educated and informed concerns.

We showed them what the West Kootenay is all about. Be proud people! And keep up the energy. But be aware the EA process is streamlined legislation in the interest of these private companies. It is a "rubber stamping" process....period.

An environmental certificate has NEVER been refused to any river diversion or other project to date. These public meetings are mere window dressing and an affront to the people of this province. The passing of Bill 30 (legislated dictatorship) by Gordon Campbell stripped regional disticts and municipalities of any legal say in these matters. The reality is our tax dollars are being spent on paying bureaucrats to set up and perform this political public theatre. Adding insult to injury!

Similar government backed corporate giveaways of public resources for private profit are common in the third world. Since we live in a supposedly modern democratic society they rely on public lack of education and apathy to carry on what is done more tranparently in developing nations. But be aware we are being raped in exactly the same way.

Cherish your public're rapidly losing them. Speak out for the repeal of Bill 30 and other corporate initiatives by the Campbell government. It's your province and your home he's giving away!

Take a serious look at what this government is doing with our precious rivers and ask yourself one all important question. What's in it for us ....the people of BC. You'll find there is no answer to that question!!!!

And frighteningly they have another four year mandate to arrogantly attend to the desires of their corporate friends and political donors.

Your letters and emails to the EAO are merely "catalogued" as part of this whole sham. Nevertheless, keep it up so they are "on record" when other pressures such as unavoidable civil disobedience are brought ot bear on this autocratic government.

Buses ArriveFrom Nelson

People from Buses

Crowd of Over Eleven Hundred Assembled

Michelle Mungall MLA

More Rally Folks

Marilyn James Sinixt Spokesperson

Gabriella "Storm" Grabowsky

Lee-Ann Unger from Eco-Society

Samba Band from Nelson

Parade Around School to Gymnasium

Gary Alexander, Environmental Assessment Officer

Simon Gourdeau Axor Spokesperson

Members of Axor Corporation Panel

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Starbelly Dancer

This African Dancer's energy was amazing and a photographer's dream.

She appeared with Alpha Ya Ya Diallo at Starbelly Jam Music Festival on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake last summer. Click on tiny square Icon in lower right to view Full Screen. It's soooo much better!

Pics of the Week

My buddy Mark Morrison taming the bumps at Whitewater Resort

Backcountry Skiing in the Selkirk Mountains Goat Range